SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 17 — American patients are worried about not being able to access their own medical records when needed, according to a survey conducted by GfK Roper. Concern about access outweighed worries about inaccuracy, theft, accidental destruction, ER availability or referral of personal medical records.
Top patient medical record worries:
28 percent – I won’t be able to access my own records when I need them
19 percent – My records will contain inaccurate or outdated information
16 percent – My records will be stolen or used fraudulently
13 percent – My records will be lost or destroyed by accident
12 percent – My records won’t be accessible to an emergency room
12 percent – My records won’t carry over to a new doctor
Other survey findings:
Men were more concerned about inaccurate or outdated records than women (22 percent vs. 16 percent).
Concern about record availability in an emergency room increases significantly with age (3 percent for patients aged 18-24 vs. 21 percent for patients aged 65+).
Inability to access medical records remained consistent as the top concern across all patient income levels, genders and regions.
Currently, HIPAA regulation mandates healthcare providers respond to patient requests for protected health information that is maintained or accessible on-site within 30 days. This request can take up to 60 days if such health information is not maintained or accessible on-site and even longer under other circumstances. Patients do not necessarily receive all their records (sometimes it is just a summary) and various state laws restrict what information can be shared. Patients are often charged per-page or per-request fees for access to their records.